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University of Iowa News

Sept. 23, 2005

UI Professor To Speak Sept. 27 On Ether Controversy

The discovery of ether as an anesthetic is one of the most contentious issues in the history of medicine. William Hammonds, M.D., clinical professor of anesthesia in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, will address the topic in a lecture, "The Life and Times of Crawford Long: The Ether Controversy," at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, in Room 401 of the UI Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. The lecture is part of a series of presentations sponsored by the UI History of Medicine Society.

Hammonds will chronicle the important role played by Crawford Long, a rural physician from Georgia, in the ether controversy. Long was arguably the first person to use ether during surgery when, in 1842, he successfully removed a cyst from the neck of a patient.

Hammonds has given numerous lectures on the history of anesthesia and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology in Park Ridge, Ill.

For more information about the UI History of Medicine Society lecture series, visit

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact the library at 319-335-9154.

The parking facility closest to the Hardin Library is the Newton Road Parking Ramp:

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: Media: Becky Soglin, 319 335-6660; Program: Susan Lawrence, UI associate professor of history, UI History of Medicine Society, 319-353-2308,